Jesus on Trial — John 5:17-18

This week we’re looking at Jesus on trial in John chapter 5 (see yesterday’s post for the background). At the start of the chapter, we had the statement of facts: Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath, and told him to pick up his mat and carry it – both of which are prohibited by law. This comes to the attention of the Jewish leaders, who then bring this accusation against him.

The accusation

The trouble is, Jesus doesn’t exactly defend himself the way you might expect. His response? (Or his apologia as it is described in v17, which was a technical term for a courtroom-style defence speech.)

5:17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.”

Not exactly the words of someone trying to avoid trouble. Let me explain why.

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Jesus on Trial — John 5:19-30

This week we’ve been looking at Jesus on trial in John chapter 5. Jesus gets himself into trouble by healing a lame man on the Sabbath, and then telling him to pick up and carry his mat – both of which were prohibited on the day of rest. In his defence, he says this:

5:17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.”

This only served to get him in more hot water, as the Jewish leaders understood this to be blasphemy:

5:18 For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

Without wanting to evoke too many overtones of Batman, how will our hero escape this predicament? Read on.

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Jesus on Trial — John 5:31-40

This week we’ve been looking at Jesus on trial in John chapter 5. Jesus gets himself into trouble by healing a lame man on the Sabbath, and then telling him to pick up and carry his mat – both of which were prohibited on the day of rest. In his defence, he says “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” This gets him into more hot water, adding the even more serious charge of blasphemy. Yesterday, we saw Jesus outline his defence: he’s not setting himself up as a rival god. On the contrary, he’s learned alongside the Father like a son learning the family business, and has come as his authorised representative to do his work.

Now this is a big claim Jesus makes, but can he prove it? This is what today’s part of the trial is all about.

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Jesus on Trial — John 5:41-47

This week we’ve been looking at Jesus on trial in John chapter 5. Jesus gets himself into trouble by healing a lame man on the Sabbath, and then telling him to pick up and carry his mat – both of which were prohibited on the day of rest. In his defence, he says “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” This gets him into more hot water, adding the even more serious charge of blasphemy. Jesus firstly outlines his defence: he’s not setting himself up as a rival god. On the contrary, he’s learned alongside the Father like a son learning the family business, and has come as his authorised representative to do his work. He then musters an impressive array of witnesses to back up this claim: John the Baptist, the miracles he was performing, and even the Father himself through the Hebrew Scriptures.

All that’s left to do is file the counter-charge.

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